Installs Advertising on NJ Transit Buses; Partners with New Jersey Hospital Association to Distribute Door Markers to Member Hospitals
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Ernest Landante, Jr.|
|April 30, 2014||609-292-0422|
TRENTON - Working to increase awareness and prevent the unsafe abandonment of infants in the Garden State, Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Allison Blake has announced a multi-pronged campaign to promote New Jersey's Save Haven program. Under the state's Safe Haven Protection Act, an individual can give up an unwanted baby safely, legally and anonymously as long as the child is unharmed.
Beginning today, interior and exterior ads will begin appearing on NJ Transit buses in Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Hudson, and Union counties through May 25. Ads will appear on buses in Camden, Monmouth, Middlesex, Atlantic, Cumberland, Burlington, Gloucester, Ocean and Mercer counties May 19 through June 15.
"Abandoning a baby unsafely puts the infant in extreme danger, so it's important that parents know they can anonymously surrender their infant to safe hands at any hospital emergency room or police station," said Commissioner Blake. "While we strongly prefer that women call us while they are pregnant so they can receive medical care and counseling, we want to assure parents who choose not to keep their infant that they will not go to jail and can remain anonymous if they bring their unharmed infant to a Safe Haven."
The Safe Haven Infant Protection Act safeguards unwanted babies from being hurt or killed from the dangers of abandonment. The law allows parents - or someone acting on their behalf - to legally and anonymously surrender an unwanted infant under 30 days old to any hospital emergency room or police station in New Jersey. Parents will be safe from prosecution if the baby has not been abused.
In addition, the New Jersey Hospital Association is partnering with DCF to increase Safe Haven awareness by distributing Safe Haven door markers to member hospitals and encouraging them to place the labels on emergency room doors. The labels designate the location as a Safe Haven.
"New Jersey's hospital emergency departments are safety nets for the communities they serve," said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. "As safe havens, they offer an alternative for parents unable to care for their newborns."
DCF also plans to distribute the door markers to police stations.
The transit ad campaign provides the Safe Haven hotline (1-877-839-2339) and website (njsafehaven.org) and mentions that an individual may give up an unwanted baby at any hospital emergency room or police station. Ads are in English and Spanish.
Throughout the year DCF distributes Safe Haven brochures, posters, teacher kits, and pocket cards at conferences and to schools, community organizations, medical professionals and other organizations.
Since August 2000, sixty-two infants have been surrendered at designated Safe Havens in New Jersey.
DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves. In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families. DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children and families each month.